Written evidence submitted by [member of the public]

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

Myself and my husband chose to home educate our three children in[date], when my eldest was [age].  It was not because we didn’t like the local school, or for any political reason.  It simply felt right.  Our children are now [ages], and we have never regretted our decision.  They are bright, interesting, fun and outgoing.  I am writing this submission on their behalf, and for other families in the future that chose home education as the right path for them.

1.The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education.


Local authorities already have the necessary powers in existing legislation.  There is no evidence to suggest that home educators are more likely to need safeguarding intervention.  The awful cases seen have involved children missing education, not being home educated.  Home educators are very visible in the community, and my children have regular interactions with a range of people including neighbours, the postman, the dentist (two have braces so we’re there a lot!), Cub Scout leaders and community groups.  We’re not unseen.  Educational choice in itself is not a red flag for safeguarding.


2. Whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required;


I do not believe it is required.   Parents are responsible for their children's education in England and Wales, rather than schools or the Local Authorities. It is therefore not legal for home educators to be monitored nor is there a need to register with the LA.


Mandatory registration is not the same as notification or LA discovery by lawful means. It implies asking permission from the LA.  This insinuates that the state is primary determinant of the education, which violates ECHR protections of the parent in that primary role.  It would result in increased interference with home educators including placing potent barriers in the way of exercising the 'or otherwise' option.



3. The benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;


Benefits – learning about things they are interested in, having the time to delve deeply into topics, development of social skills e.g. they are comfortable talking to all ages from toddlers to older people as our home ed groups involve spending time with people of all ages, healthy sibling relationships (this is one of my favourite benefits, their relationships with each other are lovely), having enormous amounts of fun while learning, ‘joining the dots’ in a way that makes sense to them.

Disadvantages – the lack of local exam centres, and the cost of exams.  I am in the process of booking 4 iGCSEs (7 exams) for my eldest [age].  We live in [place] and will be travelling to [place], possibly staying overnight if there are exams on two consecutive days.  For just the exams it’s costing more than £700, plus travel and overnight expenses on top.  It seems unfair that we pay the same taxes as families who use schools, and get no subsidy towards the cost of exams for our young people.  I don’t expect the government to pick up the tab, but a contribution would be nice.


4. The quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education.


The only support my family needs is around exam centres and exam costs as mentioned above.  I’d love an exam centre in every one or two counties.  For example I’d be happy to travel to [place] or [place].



5. Whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’;


Off rolling and elective home education are two distinct things and should not be conflated.  Please do not lump them together.  Off rolling needs to be taken up with schools.  Unregistered schools are also not elective home education, and should be dealt with separately. The current framework is sufficient for EHE children, which is who it is written for.


6. The role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education;


The role of the LA should continue to be advisory unless there are specific concerns.  In that situation the LA has the power to intervene.  Inspection should not be required.



7.  What improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 Education Committee published their report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012;


I haven’t noticed any changes (positive or negative). 



8. The impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts.’


Our groups and social meet ups stopped during the lockdown, and that was  the hardest thing for my children.  We’re very happy that we can continue to access groups this time.


November 2020